How Ted Danson Stopped Plaque Psoriasis From Stealing His Spotlight

<p>Courtesy of BMS </p>

Courtesy of BMS

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Fact checked by Nick Blackmer

You may know Ted Danson as the charming bartender Sam Malone on Cheers, the unnerved new father Jack Holden from Three Men and a Baby, or the conniving Michael on The Good Place. What you probably don’t know is that he was working hard behind the scenes to keep plaque psoriasis—a particularly visible chronic condition—at bay.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, a condition in which the immune system causes skin cells to multiply too quickly, leading to patches of red skin with stiff, white scaling.

Danson first noticed his condition when he was 25 years old.

“It was embarrassing, and it made me angry and scared,” he told Verywell. “I felt victimized by my body, and I didn’t know what to do about it.”

Related: What Does Psoriasis Look Like?

Danson’s dermatologist prescribed a topical medication, which was the best treatment available at the time. However, his condition continued to worsen, impacting his life more and more. He eventually developed psoriatic arthritis, a complication in which psoriasis begins to affect the joints.

“I was never comfortable, and my condition was always something that I had to manage. It impacted my self-worth, and I always felt, to some degree, like I was faking it,” he said.

Danson said his condition began to improve about 20 years ago when he started taking a medication that targeted the root cause of his psoriasis: an overzealous immune system.

“My treatment has helped dampen my body’s inflammation, and it’s protecting my joints,” he said. He declined to share the specific medication he takes.

Related: Psoriasis Treatments

His symptoms improved even further when he made dietary changes to minimize inflammation. He has previously stated he avoids wheat and consumes plenty of vegetables and fish. He is currently minimizing his sugar intake and avoiding alcohol.

“You can’t cure psoriasis through diet, but it can have a huge impact on your overall physical and mental health,” he said.

It’s possible for everyone living with plaque psoriasis to take proactive steps like this to improve their condition, which is something Danson hopes to impart in a new campaign with pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb. The company manufactures a pill called Sotyktu, which is a tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor used to treat moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

While Danson does not take Sotyktu himself, he’ll be filming conversations with other patients who’ve been diagnosed with plaque psoriasis. Each recording is available at the campaign website:

“We wanted to convey the journey that many individuals with plaque psoriasis experience: the struggle, the embarrassment, and the frustration,” said campaign spokesperson Jennifer Soung, MD, a dermatologist in Santa Ana, California. She is not employed by Bristol Myers Squibb. “‘So, Have You Found It?’ means have you found the right treatment, the right doctor?”

Related: How Plaque Psoriasis Is Diagnosed

Soung emphasized that nailing down your care team and treatment plan is essential; about 30% of individuals with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis, like Danson. Untreated psoriasis can also lead to heart disease.

“The extent or severity [of plaque psoriasis] may vary, and the course can sometimes be unpredictable. But there are so many different treatment options you can explore now,” she told Verywell.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Danson said. “It’s about empowering people to take charge of their lives and find a dermatologist who can work with them. You have a choice. You can let it victimize you, or you can find a better way.”

What This Means For You

Patients with psoriasis have treatment options now that weren’t available just a few years ago. Finding the best treatment plan for you may take some trial and error, but with the help of the right dermatologist, you can regain your self-confidence and well-being. The National Psoriasis Foundation supports people with psoriasis and researches ways to improve their lives. Search their health care provider directory to find a clinician who specializes in treating psoriasis.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.